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3 tips for managing the busy season

By maintaining your work/life balance with these tips, you can excel through the busy season.

Stories about the busy tax season may have made you nervous about becoming a CPA. But they shouldn’t. By maintaining your work/life balance, you can build resilience and excel through the busy season.

While the busy season certainly earns its name, each year thousands of CPAs across the country successfully navigate this period — and so can you.

What is busy season all about?

After companies wrap up year-end closing by December 31, they must meet the deadlines and criteria for tax reporting, SEC filings and bank requirements by filing their taxes and obtaining an audit report.

And, of course, everyone, whether a business or an individual, has to file their taxes by April 15.

In the United States, busy season for CPAs working at accounting firms typically lasts 10 to 12 weeks from January through April. Here’s how CPAs manage the busy season and maintain work/life balance:

1. Prioritize self-care

  • Get moving. Whether it’s a bike ride, walk in nature or a workout at the gym, moving your body is a great way to release the tension that builds up when you’re intently focused on meeting deadlines.
  • Eat well. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. Now, and when you enter the professional world, be sure to eat good food and drink plenty of water to fuel and nourish your body.
  • Maximize sleep. Both as a student and during the busy season as a CPA, aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night to maintain your cognitive function and physical and mental health.

You may already use self-care techniques to help you meet the demands of school and your professors. CPAs agree — self-care is imperative when handling high workloads and nonnegotiable deadlines.

2. Stay social and reward yourself

Connecting with classmates and colleagues on a personal level fosters a positive, supportive and productive school or work environment. As you would in class, boost team strength by enjoying social time with your colleagues.

But team building efforts shouldn’t distract you from rewarding yourself.

Hopefully, as a student you pat yourself on the back for your hard work and dedication when you finish a semester-long project or pass an exam.

Think of busy season in the same light as a semester-long project. When busy seasons ends, you should reward yourself with a celebratory meal with colleagues, a night out with friends, a vacation with family or some other “I did it!” treat.

3. Embrace learning

You take notes during class, right? CPAs recommend taking notes as a professional, too. Even with a degree (or several) and licensure, professionals never stop learning.

Professional development is a requirement of the accounting profession, and taking clear notes will help you truly learn material and keep up with regulatory and legislative updates.

Although the busy season is demanding, you are already cultivating skills to meet professional demands. Your dedication to your studies will lead to success as a CPA.

Did you know? Joining the AICPA as a Student Affiliate Member is free, and when you’re ready to begin your job search, we’ve got tools for you.

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